Network Data Cabling
Category 5 Cable (Cat 5) is a twisted pair cable for carrying signals. This type of cable is used in structured cabling for computer networks such as Ethernet. It is also used to carry other signals such as telephone & video/DVD. The cable is commonly connected using punch down blocks & modular connectors. Most Category 5 cables are unshielded, relying on the twisted pair design & differential signalling for noise rejection. Category 5 has been superseded by the Category 5e (enhanced) specification.

Category 6, commonly referred to as Cat 6, is a cable standard for Gigabit Ethernet & other network physical layers that is backward compatible with the Cat 5/5e & Category 3 cable standards. Compared with Cat 5 & Cat 5e, Cat 6 features more stringent specifications for crosstalk & system noise. The cable standard provides performance of up to 250 MHz & is suitable for 10BASE-T, 100base-TX (Fast Ethernet), 1000BASE-T/1000BASE-TX (Gigabit Ethernet) & 10GBASE-T (10-Gigabit Ethernet).

Pictures of various data cabling

Like most earlier twisted-pair cable, Category 6 cable contains four twisted wire pairs. Cat 6 cable & connectors are all significantly lower than Cat 5 or Cat 5e, which uses 24 AWG wire. The increase in performance with Cat 6 comes mainly from increased (22 AWG) wire size.

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